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Spanish Grand Prix 2021

Brundle: Mercedes outmanoeuvred Red Bull with checkmate pitstop in Barcelona

Sir Lewis Hamilton passed Max Verstappen for the lead of the Spanish Grand Prix after a bold pitstop strategy from Mercedes allowed the champion to close a 23-second gap to the frontrunner. F1 commentator Martin Brundle has explained how the decision from the world champions was a checkmate move for the race.

Sir Lewis Hamilton took a sublime victory at the Spanish Grand Prix last weekend after the Mercedes driver made a bold pitstop for fresh tyres towards the end of the race which helped him close a 23-second gap to race leader Max Verstappen and take the win.

While most teams had gone into the weekend in Barcelona looking at a one-stop strategy, Mercedes' call to pit Hamilton for a second time on lap 42 with a self described "bold move" caught Red Bull cold, and with no time to react even the Milton Keynes-based team's engineers knew the champion would likely chase down Verstappen as he had at Hungary in 2019.

Hamilton duly did so, and F1 commentator Martin Brundle has explained that Red Bull simply couldn't risk giving up their track position to pit again while Mercedes in second and third had nothing to lose, meaning they could afford to take the gamble they did, he said on Sky Sports.

"This was the checkmate move because it was too late for Red Bull to react, and as Max's engineer described it on the radio 'a Budapest 2019' where Hamilton steamed back past Verstappen on much better tyres to take victory, as indeed he would do again for his fifth consecutive victory here," he said."

"Red Bull might have seen that coming and pitted Max first ambitiously risking that his new soft tyre could last and hoping he could hang on at the front somehow as Hamilton did on ailing tyres in Bahrain.

"With Perez out of the picture some way behind, this allowed Mercedes to roll the dice and assume Lewis would close the now 23-second gap to Verstappen and not be troubled too much when having to pass his own team-mate Bottas along the way.

"Bottas wasn't all that helpful but such was Hamilton's pace it was a comfortable victory over Verstappen in the end."

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